Baden, Austria is located in the hills of the Vienna Woods about 26 km south of Vienna. Baden dates from the Roman era, when it was known as Thermae Pannonicae because of its numerous warm sulfur baths. Many Viennese would travel there for rest and therapy for various ailments, especially rheumatism. I am not a big fan of bathing in something that reminds me of my days in the chemistry laboratory, but I definitely found my long hikes in the Vienna Woods therapeutic. One of my favorite walks was up to the ruins of Rauheneckerberg Castle that was built by a family of knights by the name of Tursen in the 12th century. It was like something out of Lord of the Rings and we really thought we might see a hobbit or two along the way or at least a white ghost tree in the remains of the courtyard.
As I walked I stopped , opened my eyes very wide and marveled at the flora. I collected a few little blossoms and tiny treasures along the way in my little cotton sac. I wanted to have a collection that represented spring in the Vienna Woods so I laid everything out on one of the flagstones in the park known as the Rosarium , located just behind our hotel.
I only wish I could share the scent of all the flowering trees that imbued the air and the symphony of songbirds from high in the trees.
I promised to show you my other treasures after sharing the tin box and its contents with you. I also purchased two really old folkloric tops, an adorable little apron, some pantaloons, a remarkable large wax heart ornament, a painted wooden picture of hansel and gretel and some embroidered linens done in redwork. I really wish you could all see them in person and be amazed at the all the little exquisite details.
I saw the molds for these wax ornaments in the wonderful little museum way up on the side of the hills of Baden, Austria called the Kaiser Franz Josef Museum. I was the only visitor the day I went and received a special short history of the Kaiser from a museum volunteer who specialized in collecting postage stamps from the time of his great empire. I learned all about his family and their tragic deaths, his hobbies ( hunting and horses) and about how he valued education in the sciences and helped to build the collections at the museum of natural sciences in Vienna that we will explore together in a future post.
Last week was our favorite spanish speaking cousin's fourth birthday. I miss him so much and all the things he does to make me smile. His visit last year was a great time all around. We went to the zoo, where he was a big fan of the giraffe. Once we got home, he couldn't get enough of the Raffi song "Joshua Giraffe". When returning from the beach one day, a Shakira song came on the radio. In the song it sang,¿Cómo te llamas?and he would cry out without hesitation "Robbie!"
All of these pictures were taken when Robbie visited last summer with his mom and dad. Here is a recent picture of this handsome lad.
Some readers may remember an earlier post about a wooden hand painted Austrian box I found filled with treasures at the flea market in Vienna . I paid one euro for it. Well I have been back to Austria (surprise) and this time I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a small flomarkt in a beautiful church in Baden, a beautiful town just outside of Vienna. I lined up with the locals for the opening of the market at 9 am. In this picture you can see some ancient ruins that I will tell you about in another post.
I made the rounds , starting in the basement but didn't find very much until I reached the last table just before the large collection of books that were for sale. It was here that I found a beautiful old tin with a hinged lid for 1.5 euros.
The tin was actually made in england and probably contained some toffee candy or some other sweet treat at one time but here it was filled with another kind of treat. Just the kind I was on the look out for.
The contents included a needle holder, a very old molded wax ornament, tiny tea spoons, hankies, hand and machine embroidered ribbons, and some of the most beautiful handmade lace trims I have ever seen.
I just love how whoever embroidered this ribbon changed colors from black to white when they ran out of thread. My absolute favorite is the trim that on quick glance looks like a double row of ric rac but on closer inspection each section is hand turned and then an absolutely tiny intricate design has been created in the inner diamonds. Who ever made this piece of art has won my great admiration.
This box was only one of the treasures I purchased from this last table. I hope to share the rest of them tomorrow, and over the next week my hikes up in the hills, the wildflowers , trees, moss , lichen and then my discoveries in the museums of Vienna. I am getting ready for the show at bookhou that starts this friday and preparing for the potential flu pandemic. My life is so very interesting :)
Lucky number 13 from the random number generator. That means the winner of the crochet covered stone is Ashley. As soon as she emails me her address I will pop that lovely stone in the mail. I have just returned from a little surprise trip and I have so many things to share with you but not tonight. I did want to show you a picture of one of my views on earthday. I promise to be back soon with more.
The next month will be very exciting with my photographic art and some crochet covered stones being shown in two shows, one in Toronto and the other in New York City.
The first show in NYC opens this friday at the PS122 Gallery and is called Yarn Theory. I am so grateful to Martha Lewis, the curator and herself a contributor to the show for finding me on etsy and asking me to become involved. The list of contributors is awesome and includes one of my crochet heroes Emily Barletta.
The second show opens May 1st at bookhou in Toronto and again I am so honored and excited to be part of this trio of artists, including John Booth, Arounna's best mate. This show is running alongside a citywide photography festival called Contact.
If you live in the Toronto area I hope you will drop by the show .
I wanted to show you a little of what I have been working on and after this post today I am going to take the rest of the week off from blogging . I shall return on Monday and if you want to leave a comment here I will pick a winner on my return and they shall receive a crochet covered stone and their choice of two prints from the shop.
Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.
I find myself thinking of this quote often especially in the spring where I am drawn to a experience a sense of childlike discovery of the world awakening once again. This spring has been a very slow one , and especially wonderful for nature observation. I marvel at the contrast of last falls browns and this springs greens. The strength of the shoots rising out of the still hard ground and often piercing leaves, bark or even lifting snails is a force of energy I would love to emulate.
Here are a few of my observations over the last few days .
To see all of this I only had to venture a few steps from my porch , get down close to the ground and open my eyes wide.
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
I had a really lovely time at the hunt and gather show today in Toronto. I set my trunk up next to someone I had been really wanting to meet , Emily, of Nesting Emily fame. She is a really sweet person and I was so very happy to trade for one of her wonderful jars. Other highlights of the afternoon were seeing arounna and her beautiful ever so much taller baby girl and then getting to meet her brother who was also selling his wares at the show. I loved hearing about how it was arounna who taught him how to silkscreen and how he loves to design clothing. I definitely see some project runway material there. Of course it was also really nice to talk to the other makers of things and all of you who stopped by to say hello. My stones are starting to be more recognizable and that really makes me smile.
I wish you could have all stopped by to say hello. I have quite a few things left over from the sale but I don't think I will get around to having an etsy shop update for a few weeks.
I wanted to show you a few of my favorite things from the day. It was only after I downloaded the photographs that I realized I had forgotten to take a picture of my display. It was really much better than the last time. I had ferns, birch bark containers with mosses and hanging thimble necklaces with flowers.
Maybe Karyn took a picture and if she posts it I will let you know.
I also realized I forgot to bring one of my favorite little things to the show, perhaps intentionally in a subconscious way . It is the first picture below, a little covered stone with a thimble holder filled with moss and pixie cup lichen, packaged with a tiny acorn and a beautiful little feather.
I saw the very first outdoor garden snails today although they were still asleep. I love how they were nestled in the such cosy spot in amongst the dead leaves and new little shoots.
I wouldn't have believed this next picture if I hadn't taken it myself. This little snail really was rising from the ground on the back of a very strong stem. Nature is so wonderful. All we need to do is open our eyes.
At first I thought it was just a shell but on close inspection it was actually a very alive snail pretending to be a flower. As soon as the last little patch of snow has melted from the garden and there are no longer frost warnings I will place the potted gardenia plant back in the garden and fern ( my little snail friend ) will be free to roam.
My daughter and I will be selling these necklaces along with some covered stones, prints and vintage clothing and fabric tomorrow from 12 to 5 as part of the hunt and gather show at the Workroom, 1340 Queen Street West , Toronto. If you live in the area, please stop by and say hello.
"Periodically, I try to take myself by the collar and say 'Bateman, wake up. Open your eyes. Hold on a second and look around.' Nature has treasures to offer, if we will only pause for a moment, take a few deep breaths and smile."
Here is some of what I saw this week when I paused and opened my eyes wide.
It seemed to me that all these little elements were speaking to each other, some more obviously than others , to announce the arrival of spring. I found myself getting caught up in the chorus of a million little voices and I am not even including the first amphibian songs of the season.